Making a name for himself as a photographer among the wreckage of the Lebanese civil war, Joe Kesrouani has now turned his sights on the evils represented by the march of so-called ‘progress’. Under Kesrouani’s eye, cities are reduced to crude building blocks and swathes of track. Littered with endless, pointless roads, simple helicopters and an overwhelming number of cars – the Beirut-born artist’s vision could be seen as the plans to a crude and childishly designed city. There’s something apocalyptic to the dirty clouds that hover ominously over the city, while in some of the works, roads, cars and buildings are submerged in a steadily rising tide of water.
There’s no denying that Kesrouani’s ideas are time-honed. None of us are strangers to the idea that progress is really starting to irk Mother Earth. But the simplicity of the artist’s designs, the innocence in the way he expresses a fear of the end we all can share, is pretty interesting. There’s something of the Futurists in the way that Kesrouani paints, right down to the bizarre mechanised constructions that he forms. Faces balanced on windpipe-like springs, sunflowers inverted into a deathly collection of booming speakers.
It’s as if Kesrouani can point, with these works, to the sad failure of the Futurist dream – that progress, speed and velocity are just simply not all that human, after all. Recommended viewing.